Supreme Court wres­tles with case on de­ten­tion of im­mi­grants

Yuma Sun - - OPINION -

WASH­ING­TON — The Supreme Court wres­tled Wed­nes­day with a case about the govern­ment’s abil­ity to de­tain cer­tain im­mi­grants af­ter they’ve served sen­tences for com­mit­ting crimes in the United States. Sev­eral jus­tices ex­pressed con­cerns with the govern­ment’s read­ing of im­mi­gra­tion law.

Jus­tice Stephen Breyer seemed per­haps the most sym­pa­thetic to the ar­gu­ments of im­mi­grants in the case. The im­mi­grants, mostly green-card hold­ers, say they should get hear­ings where they can ar­gue for their re­lease while de­por­ta­tion pro­ceed­ings against them are on­go­ing. Breyer noted that the United States “gives ev­ery triple ax mur­derer a bail hear­ing.”

While mem­bers of the court’s con­ser­va­tive ma­jor­ity seemed more in­clined than its lib­eral mem­bers to back the govern­ment, both of Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump’s ap­pointees asked ques­tions that made it less clear how they might ul­ti­mately rule.

The is­sue in the case be­fore the jus­tices has to do with the de­ten­tion of nonci­t­i­zens who have com­mit­ted a broad range of crimes that make them de­portable. Im­mi­gra­tion law tells the govern­ment to pick those peo­ple up when they are re­leased from fed­eral or state pris­ons and jails and then hold them with­out bond hear­ings while an im­mi­gra­tion court de­cides whether they should be de­ported.

But those af­fected by the law aren’t al­ways picked up im­me­di­ately and are some­times not de­tained un­til years later.

They ar­gue that un­less they’re picked up es­sen­tially within a day of be­ing re­leased, they’re en­ti­tled to a hear­ing where they can ar­gue that they aren’t a dan­ger to the com­mu­nity and are not likely to flee. If a judge agrees, they can stay out of cus­tody while their de­por­ta­tion case goes for­ward.


A PO­LICE OF­FI­CER GUARDS THE MAIN EN­TRANCE Supreme Court in Wash­ing­ton, Tues­day. to the

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